The Face of Islam
photograph by Mark Phillips
L. Ford, Th. D.
President George Bush has said on several occasions that Islam is one of the world’s great religions. But is it really? Or, has he been misled as have so many people during the latter half of the twentieth century and now into the twenty-first into believing a lie? When you read most of the more modern sources for information about this religion, you find a great deal of reinterpretation of the facts of history. The presentation of what Islam is about has been altered over time. Could it be that President Bush has been fooled by a systematic rewriting of history and facts in order to delude a world into becoming the unsuspecting victim of a renewed attempt to spread Islam around the globe?
Many Muslims would have us to believe that the God of the Bible is the god of Islam, but we will argue that this is not so. Let us consider for a moment what Earle Fox has to say on the subject. He wrote:
The Muslim image of God is not of a reasonable or reasoning God, but one who is distant, arbitrary, and autocratic, not engaging or honoring the freewill and reason which He has created in us. But the God of both the Old and New Testaments is inherently committed to the union of reason, justice, and love -- and no less sovereign for doing so. I know of no other religion where that combination is found with any consistency. A God who is both sovereign and servant -- suffering servant, no less. Amazing grace. The bottom line, however, is not who worships the nicest God, but who worships the true God. Reality. Would it not be astonishing if "nicest" and "reality" were identical???
Notice that Dr. Fox points out that there is a distinct difference between the God of the Bible and the god of Islam. Of course the Islamic line follows the usual cultic line of claiming that the Bible has been corrupted. We will not engage in refuting this assertion since many proofs of the credibility of Scripture have been offered in works dedicated to that purpose. What is important to this paper is demonstrating that Islam is neither great nor believable to an objective investigator. Until the reader is able to clearly see the truth, he is unable to discern the true face of Islam.
One writer cut to the heart of the matter in his observations about true believers in any religion, which he then related to Islam. I quote him now as we begin our investigation because it is necessary to make it clear that people do just give lip service to their proclaimed beliefs. And, that these who do give mere lip service to their professions should not be the standard by which we judge a religion. According to Francis Bennion it is:
…patently wrong in saying that the present
struggle to suppress terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. The 1989 furore
over Satanic Verses and the fatwa against Salman Rushdie brought us all up
against what religion involves. Exclusive fundamentalism, whether Christian,
Islamic or other, is the only possible stance for a true believer. The New
Testament presents Christianity as the only true religion: No one comes to God
except by me (John xiv, 6). The Koran makes a similar claim for Islam. True
believers must treat apostasy and blasphemy as ultimate transgressions, for they
defame the very God they believe in. Skeptics adopt the stance of either a
Rushdie or a Runcie. A Rushdie propagates doubt or disbelief by satire, irony or
other debunking. A Runcie achieves the same result by watering down his faith in
a manner inconsistent with the nature of faith. I prefer the stance of a Rushdie,
as more honest. Those who follow the Runcie doctrine that all religions are
worthy of equal respect deny the meaning of religion, for, between mutually
exclusive creeds, only one can be true. In the days of the Crusades, that was
the stance of all Christian adherents. Now only a comparative few, mainly
evangelical or Roman Catholic, remain true to it.
This statement coming from a newsman from a formerly Christian country that has now been pretty thoroughly invaded by Islam is particularly telling. Certainly his vantage point is the better for comprehending the truth about Islam and its goals than is a liberal view held in a country like the United States that is not yet beginning to groan under an Islamic presence.
But we have not been without warnings from keen observers of the situation when it comes to the true face of Islam. Bernard Lewis writing for the Atlantic Monthly in September 1990, said this:
In the classical Islamic view, to which many Muslims are beginning to return, the world and all mankind are divided into two: the House of Islam, where the Muslim law and faith prevail, and the rest, known as the House of Unbelief or the House of War, which it is the duty of Muslims ultimately to bring to Islam. But the greater part of the world is still outside Islam, and even inside the Islamic lands, according to the view of the Muslim radicals, the faith of Islam has been undermined and the law of Islam has been abrogated. The obligation of holy war therefore begins at home and continues abroad, against the same infidel enemy.
This is not the picture of a peace teaching and peace inspiring religion that we are being told Islam is. Jack Chick warned in his tract "Allah Had No Sons" that the Islamic invasion into western countries was intentional with the purpose of overcoming those countries from within. Certainly we have in recent times seen a willingness to exercise an influence based on numbers in places inundated with Muslims such as England.
Since President Bush declared a War on Terrorism, we have seen not only the Taliban try to raise an "us against them" cry, but we have seen this type of idea echoed in broadcast and print statements made by Arab leaders in the Middle East. This type of outcry could only have relevance if it had some basis of response in the belief system of the people it was being aimed at. What we are seeing happen in the world makes Mr. Lewis’ words echo with a strong ring of truth.
Mr. Lewis also demonstrated he is neither ignorant of Islamic history nor unaware of its meanings by other statements he made. The implication of the following factual excerpt could be unnerving:
The Rise of the House of Unbelief
In Islam the struggle of good and evil very soon acquired political and even military dimensions. Muhammad, it will be recalled, was not only a prophet and a teacher, like the founders of other religions; he was also the head of a polity and of a community, a ruler and a soldier. Hence his struggle involved a state and its armed forces. If the fighters in the war for Islam, the holy war "in the path of God," are fighting for God, it follows that their opponents are fighting against God. And since God is in principle the sovereign, the supreme head of the Islamic state -- and the Prophet and, after the Prophet, the caliphs are his vicegerents -- then God as sovereign commands the army. The army is God's army and the enemy is God's enemy. The duty of God's soldiers is to dispatch God's enemies as quickly as possible to the place where God will chastise them -- that is to say, the afterlife.
In short Mr. Lewis is saying that the belief a good Moslem should kill those who do not convert is consistent with what Mohammed believed, taught, and practiced. It is also the attitude that was ingrained into their religious texts when they began to be compiled. This is a far different view of the face of Islam that many people are trying to present in this present day. But it is a wholly consistent view when compared with all sorts of Islamic leaders performance, not only in Middle Eastern countries, but around the globe. We might now recognize that the concept of the House of Islam against the House of Unbelief, us against them, is very real and the true face of Islam.
The people who have been involved in what we call terrorist activities have been able to survive and carry on for some reason. It has been no secret that much of that much of the money that has paid their bills have come out of the so-called moderate Islamic governments, as well as from Muslims in places like the United States who have become wealthy through our free enterprise system. In the last decade certain categories of non-traditional immigrants have been given a favored status by the government that has allowed for greater success to be had by first and second-generation immigrants. We contend that this display of generosity is taken as a sign of weakness in the Islamic mind, somewhat akin to the paying of tribute. Islamic thinking is still caught in the barbaric processes of sixth and seventh century Arabian tribal warlord custom. Receiving benefits that were not earned persuaded its recipients that they were superior and should therefore strive to change the society into which they had entered into the same type they had left.
One correspondent who is beginning to catch on to the true face of Islam made some pertinent comments regarding the continuing barbaric mindset of Islamic culture:
Didn't the first great Jihad all but wipe out Christian Egypt, Syria, North Africa, and the Holy Land? Weren't churches burnt and people forcibly converted or slain? Didn't a similar fate await Byzantium and the Balkans? Hasn't anti-Christian violence in Africa, the Middle East and Asia been worse in the last few years? Hasn't the toxic mix of Arab/third-world insecurity and Western power politics made most Muslim states semi-militant? When was the last time a Muslim arrested and imprisoned for sharing his religion, or carrying a copy of the Koran? (Saudi Arabia, other Gulf States) When was the last time a Christian regime carried out warfare against a Muslim minority, raping and enslaving some, capturing children to be turned against their own people (Sudan)? When was the last time a new Muslim faced the death penalty for converting (Take your pick)? When was the last time a Christian suicide-bomber killed a crowd of shoppers, or crashed a plane into a building? (New York, Tel Aviv) When was the last time that Christians killed Muslims with impunity in a village, and nearly got away with it in a court of law? (Egypt) When was the last time Muslim people were fined and imprisoned for importing holy books? (Morocco, 1998) When was the last time that Muslim artifacts and archeological treasures were bulldozed and defiantly dumped? (Temple Mount, Jerusalem)
Perhaps you will notice, dear reader, that each time she asked a question concerning barbaric acts, she could point to an occasion where these things were accomplished by those holding to the Islamic faith. It might be argued that historically a great deal of barbaric behavior occurred on the so-called Christian side during the Crusades. But let us be honest about this and admit that these things did not occur before Christianized lands were overrun or at least invaded by Islam. There is a significant difference between the behavior and beliefs of genuine fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Islamics. The Crusades occurred at a time when the beliefs of people we now characterize as fundamentalists were under attack by the established Church of Rome with an even greater virulence than the attack she was launching against Islam.
We have now come quite some way since we first began this paper and asserted that Islam is not a great religion and laid the groundwork for a proclamation that the Allah of Mohammed was not the God of the Bible. If we are to validate this claim we cannot simply rely on showing the disparity between the God presented in the Bible and the god demonstrated in Islam. We must be able to identify exactly who the god of Islam is. Fortunately we do know exactly who he is, and surprisingly so do Islamic scholars. We will shout it loudly, but they will not, even though they publish it in their texts.
Allah was not revealed to Mohammed suddenly for the first time in a cave in the seventh century by the angel Gabriel. He had been the tribal moon god of his people and one of three hundred and sixty that were worshipped at the Kabah for quite some time. He was a source of income for Mohammed’s people. So important was he in their lives that both Mohammed’s father and his uncle had names honoring him.
In fact, Allah was quite well known to the pagans in pre-Islamic Arabia. As a matter of history, so was just about everything that Mohammed introduced, including the practice of bowing and praying toward Mecca. You might say his real claim to fame was the establishment of a great deal of their desert superstitions, prejudices; their violence and vengeance in one central religious model. And the human race has been suffering from it ever since.
One of the interesting things about the god of Islam is that even though he is male, joined to the sun goddess, and father to three goddesses, he is in the Islamic faith not to be thought of as a person. This would, in their thought processes and teaching, lower him to the level of a man.
In stark contrast to the God of the Bible, the god of Islam is unknowable and so exalted that no man can ever have a personal relationship with him. Neither does their god have any personal
feelings for man. In the Bible, God is revealed with the chief attribute of love, seeking always to bring men into a personal relationship with Him. The god of Islam has ninety-nine attributes and they are all negative, telling us what he is not but never what he is. With such a god as that it is scarcely any wonder that what we have consistently seen throughout the centuries are the signs of a depraved religion. We should not really call their belief system monotheistic but rather deistic since their deity has such an utter lack of direct concern with the created order.
Let us not forget that everything that Islam contains was originally founded in the pagan and occult practices that preceded it. As a matter of record is the truth that Mohammed’s own mother was heavily involved in the occult. And, it is still debated even among Islamic scholars to this day whether the seizures that preceded Mohammed‘s religious pronouncements were epileptic or demonic.
Surely as we have continued our discussion the true face of Islam has become more and more discernable. We can see that the belief system of the true Islamic is quite different than that which is held to by a Christian or Jew. Though various Christian identifying groups have been responsible for persecutions and even forced conversions down through the centuries such practices are not part of the Word of God accepted by the Christian faith. Islam on the other hand is quite a different matter. Their works actually encourage persecution and even warfare against people who do not share their beliefs. One prominent secular writer expressed it this way:
Another participant equated Christian and Muslim "missionary" activity. I don't know of any "Muslim missionaries," either now or in preceding centuries seeking to convert individuals to faith in Allah and Mohammed as his prophet. Islamic armies conquered population groups in N. Africa and the Middle East (before heading for Europe) and gave those defeated: "convert" or get killed. It is certainly the case that, during
and after the Reformation, "Christians" killed other "Christians." When his commander came to report that his troops were killing both Catholics and Protestants among the Albingensians, the French King replied: "Kill them all: the Lord will know his own." He got that right.
- I look at the geography of Islam, and everywhere it has contact with another culture - Hindus in India, Jews in Palestine, Christians in Indonesia, Russia, the balkans, Africa - there is war. As Samuel Huntington says in his 1993 essay on the Clash of Civilizations, Islam has "bloody borders." I also look at the history of Mohammed and the theology of Islam, and my blood runs cold. Sometimes I think that the words of the Koran - the explicit denial of the Trinity, Incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection comes to mind - constitutes a religion that is the denial of Christ at its very core. Someone or some power gave those words to Mohammed, words that are apparently of a terrible power in Arabic. Someone or some power gave Mohammed's movement a military might that the Arabs never had before, and it wiped out the Christian civilizations of the Middle East and North Africa. Do you think it is possible to remain agnostic on the origins of Islam? Can a Christian avoid thinking the more awful thoughts that will occur on this subject?
Currently there are efforts to portray "pure Islam" as a "religion of peace." Many, even church leaders who should know better have joined together in this song. Islamic apologists seek to point out there are many passages in the Koran that teach tolerance. However they cover up the accepted principle for interpreting their own method of understanding contradictory passages of the compiled book. That is, the later passages take precedence over the earlier. If as claimed the Koran is the source of "pure Islam," we must note this that it teaches: "So when the sacred months have passed away, then SLAY THE IDOLATERS wherever you find them, and TAKE THEM CAPTIVES AND BESIEGE THEM AND LIE IN WAIT FOR THEM IN EVERY AMBUSH." (Sura 9.5) This is not a solitary passage of text, but an example that reveals the true face of Islam. How many times and places must their book be quoted and their conduct be examined before we accept it as being a demonstration of what underlies the system?
In the concluding pages of this booklet we shall seek to understand a little of why the face of Islam is turned toward us with hatred.
As a Bible believing theologian it is my contention that there is an unseen war occurring between the forces of good and those of evil. For some time it has pleased God to use America to accomplish His divine purposes, but in recent times we have become as a nation apostate concerning the faith. Therefore, in keeping with His biblical promises chastisement is allowed to come to us through His use of evil nations which are not identified with His plan and purposes through faith.
But then we come to the seen motivations that propel the followers of this religion discernible to all men. In seeking reasons for their hate we find no shortage. The most significant I identify as:
1. We are a Christian nation in their eyes in spite of our idolatries.
2. We have been successful materially while their system has taken them deeper into poverty in spite of untold billions in resources.
3. We are the inheritors of the Western European, who they see as having stolen from them lands they once took with the sword.
4. We have our own history of having met them and defeated them in battle.
5. They do not see us as a "natural people" because we have opened our doors and successfully assimilated peoples from many lands.
6. Though the Koran speaks of charity it is a restrictive form of philanthropy, therefore they resent even the open hand.
One writer expressed some of what I am talking about concerning the history of military conflict in this manner:
Western warfare had its origins in the conflicts of the citizens of the Greek city states who fought to defend the strictly defined borders of their small political units. Beyond their world the significant military powers, however, were nomads, whose chosen method was the raid and the surprise attack. Once they acquired a superior means of mobility, in the riding horse, they developed a style of warfare which settled people found almost impossible to resist. The Arabs were horse-riding raiders before Mohammed. His religion, Islam, inspired the raiding Arabs to become conquerors of terrifying power, able to overthrow the ancient empires both of Byzantium and Persia and to take possession of huge areas of Asia, Africa and Europe. It was only very gradually that the historic settled people, the Chinese, the Western Europeans, learnt the military methods necessary to overcome the nomads. They were the methods of the Greeks, above all drill and discipline. The last exponents of nomadic warfare, the Turks, were not turned back from the frontiers of Europe until the 17th century. Thereafter the advance of Western military power went unchecked. One Islamic state after another went down to defeat, until in 1918 the last and greatest, the Ottoman empire, was overthrown. After 1918 the military power of the Western world stood apparently unchallengeable. The Oriental tradition, however, had not been eliminated. It reappeared in a variety of guises, particularly in the tactics of evasion and retreat practised by the Vietcong against the United States in the Vietnam war. On September 11, 2001 it returned in an absolutely traditional form. Arabs, appearing suddenly out of empty space like their desert raider ancestors, assaulted the heartlands of Western power, in a terrifying surprise raid and did appalling
In addition to his comments we would have to remark that early in our history as a nation, the United States also defeated Islam when it subdued the Barbary Pirates in the Mediterranean. These events are still celebrated in such things as the Marine Corps Hymn.
Bernard Lewis, who I quoted earlier, talked about the issue in a similar vein:
The struggle between these rival systems has now lasted for some fourteen centuries. It began with the advent of Islam, in the seventh century, and has continued virtually to the present day. It has consisted of a long series of attacks and counterattacks, jihads and crusades, conquests and reconquests. For the first thousand years Islam was advancing, Christendom in retreat and under threat. The new faith conquered the old Christian lands of the Levant and North Africa, and invaded Europe, ruling for a while in Sicily, Spain, Portugal, and even parts of France. The attempt by the Crusaders to recover the lost lands of Christendom in the east was held and thrown back, and even the Muslims' loss of southwestern Europe to the Reconquista was amply compensated by the Islamic advance into southeastern Europe, which twice reached as far as Vienna. For the past three hundred years, since the failure of the second Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683 and the rise of the European colonial empires in Asia and Africa, Islam has been on the defensive, and the Christian and post-Christian civilization of Europe and her daughters has brought the whole world, including Islam, within its orbit. FOR a long time now there has been a rising tide of rebellion against this Western paramountcy, and a desire to reassert Muslim values and restore Muslim greatness. The Muslim has suffered successive stages of defeat. The first was his loss of domination in the world, to the advancing power of Russia and the West. The second was the undermining of his authority in his own country, through an invasion of foreign ideas and laws and ways of life and sometimes even foreign rulers or settlers, and the enfranchisement of native non-Muslim elements.
Now we are at the conclusion of the matter for the moment. As I close out this booklet I realize that the reader is very likely to feel that he has many more things he wants to learn and understand about the subject. But that is a matter for another day.
In the beginning I proposed to show you that Islam is not a great religion worthy of respect, and along the way I should have revealed that those persons who are currently the focus of our ire bear a kinship with others who truly embrace the religion of Islam. This was necessary to truly reveal the face of Islam.
At the moment the reader should have some inkling of the culture that undergirds the belief system and empowers the activity of its practitioners. He should understand that simply removing a few terrorists from the world will not make the problem go away. We can truly say there will never be an end to the conflict until Islam as a religion is no longer practiced or believed.
Since unlike the Moslem, Christians will not, must not, seek to secure their survival by eradicating the Moslem; and, it is highly unlikely that they all will be won to Christ; the situation will never be fully resolved until the Lord Jesus Christ returns to set up His rule on the earth. Today the face of Islam has been revealed, and it is evil. But the practitioners have human faces and they all need to be won to the Lord. We will only do that by being strong physically, moral socially, and faithful to our faith practically. We must become whole armor Christians to win Muslims to Christ.
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